NEWS17 February 2020

‘No justifiable basis’ for police facial recognition, say MSPs

Legal News Privacy Public Sector Technology

UK – Members of the Scottish Parliament have said that there is ‘no justifiable basis’ for Police Scotland to use live facial recognition (LFR) technology, citing concerns over privacy, human rights and data protection. 

Security camera facial recognition_crop

The review from the justice sub-committee on policing concluded that technology currently available to the police service is ‘known to discriminate against females, and those from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities’.

To use LFR technology, the police force would need to demonstrate that it meets human rights and data protection requirements.

“Prior to any decision to introduce live facial recognition technology to policing in Scotland, it is essential that a robust and transparent assessment of its necessity and accuracy is undertaken, and that the potential impacts on people and communities are understood,” the committee report said.

Police Scotland does not currently use LFR technology but stated in its 10-year strategy its intention to introduce it by 2026.

The report was published as London’s Metropolitan Police Service began using the technology to locate wanted individuals.

In January, the Information Commissioner’s Office urged the government to establish a binding set of standards on the issue ‘as a matter of priority'.